Originally Posted by X-Maniac
As others have said, the logic in what you're saying is flawed.
The casual viewer doesn't already know which of the X-Men are 'popular.' The films made Jackman's Wolverine popular (but not enough for Origins to beat X2 or X3 at the box office). Just like the casual viewer had no clue who Iron Man was before Downey Jr nailed the role.
These films can make characters popular by giving them strong roles. If Cyclops had a powerful central role he would be super-popular too.
Wolverine was already the most popular X-Men character even before X-Men 1 was released. He was in every cartoon and videogame before X1 was released. In the intro of the first animated series, look who was shown first? Wolverine. Plus he already had his own comic-book series.
And Origins wasn't going to beat X2/X3 because like I said before, Wolverine with the X-Men sells more than just Wolverine himself. Plus Origins was a prequel.